This Roman Catholic nun from Ireland did what every foreign-born missionary ought to do: she prepared the way for her locally-born successors.
Norma Eileen Rafferty was born in Ireland in 1925. She took her first vows as a Dominican Missionary Sister in Greenwich/England in 1956, now called Sr. Mary Vincent (after the Dominican saint Vincent Ferrer). She trained as a teacher and taught in Northern and Southern Rhodesia – Zambia and Zimbabwe. After her retirement from teaching she used her talents as an administrator. For five years she worked in Campion House, helping in the Cathedral Parish.
Then she joined the Social Communications Department of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference at a time of expansion, playing a vital role in setting up the administrative structures of the media office of the Zimbabwean bishops. Every day she rode on her bicycle from the Dominican Convent in Fourth Street to the communication office which was during those years (1990 – 94) at 98,Central Avenue.
She did what every foreign-born missionary ought to do. She prepared the way for her locally-born successor. She herself was ready to tackle yet another job, this time as “episcopal secretary” to Bishop Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa in Mutare. Eventually, she returned to the mother house in Harare and for ten years ran the library with her usual efficiency and kindness, serving Sisters and visitors who needed books or video material. She retired to the House of Adoration two years ago and died after a stroke on 9 September 2011. She was buried in Chishawasha. May she rest in peace.